Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Little Ship, Big Ocean

In what many may see as an ironic accident, a Japanese submarine, JDS Asashio (SS 589 / TSS 3601), reportedly brushed against a Panamanian-flagged 4,000 ton merchant, the M/V Spring Auster, while surfacing off the southern coast of Kyushu earlier today (tomorrow on the other side of the dateline). From the AP report:
None of its crew of 16 Philippine nationals and a South Korean was hurt, but the extent of the damage was not immediately known, he said.
No injuries were reported among the 75 crew on the submarine Asashio. It apparently hit the ship's hull while surfacing, and the top part of the submarine's aft fin had been dented by the impact, the defense spokesman said.
The cause of the accident was not immediately known. The submarine had re-submerged and was expected to enter a nearby defense port for inspection, he said.
Coast Guard officials made radio contact with the Spring Auster, whose crew reported feeling a small impact. They maintained course because no other vessel was in sight, Nagasaki said.
Interestingly, lists the Asashio as a training submarine; it's apparently the newest of the Harushio-class boats. While it's hard to tell exactly what happened from this report, it looks to me like they came to PD underneath the merchant in preparation for surfacing. This would be a different scenario than when USS Greeneville (SSN 772) sank the Japanese fishing vessel Ehime Maru -- they did an emergency blow into the surface ship, which packs a much bigger wallop. Luckily for all involved, a controlled ascent to PD involves much lower forces in the event of a collision.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Certainly, Asashio is classified as a Training Submarine, but virtually, she is employed as an experimental submarine for newly introduced Starling AIP proplusion system. Ashashio's hell has been extended, being inserted with an additional 10-meter section containing the AIP engine.

It is reported by Japnese medias that the incident has happened thus; Asashio was surfacing, when she heard the noise of a surface ship. The sub tried to dive again, but her upper fin was contacted with the ship, MV Spring Auster. Asashio's fin was bent to starboard with distinctive scar at the top, as it was shown in Japanese TV newses.

We, Japanese gentle-minded taxpayers, do not know why Asashio's sonarman and keen officers in the conning room did not notice the chug-chug sound of the diesel powered tanker until the last moment. Maybe we should expect that someday a Chinese Song-class submarine will suddenly break the surface at the entrance of Yokosuka!
Thank you for your perseverence of reading my terrible English-writing.
-Dasaku, Japan

11/21/2006 8:05 AM

Blogger Chap said...

I have been at sea with a Japanese submarine, although not Asashio.

Coming to periscope depth is a necessary but very risky procedure. I do not know details of the collision, but many times I have seen contacts that were not able to be heard because of the properties of the water, or because of the aspect of the ship.
--Sometimes a merchant can be heard at a shallow depth but not at a deep one. (The Kuroshio current is very tricky, especially this time of year. This sounds as though the collision may have occurred on the edge of the Kuroshio.)
--Sometimes the front of the merchant masks the noise being made by the engines and propellers at the back of the merchant.

I am sure responsibility will be assigned and mistakes will be discovered. However, risk of collision is never zero and collisions do happen.

11/21/2006 8:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've seen pics of USS Newport News and the prop did cut through the hy-80. there are several close hull breaks below the water line which sudjest that the boat was lifted to the surface by the biting action of the screw. I'm not saying the "people tank" was ruptured, I'm saying that ballast tanks starboard side were breached. It looks worse than I can describe.

6/15/2007 2:35 PM


Post a Comment

<< Home